1. Never speak behind another’s back
Regardless of who that person is, and no matter what you think of him or her, you should never speak behind someone’s back in a pejorative manner or try to tarnish their reputation by spreading rumours. In this day when social media can spread falsities within seconds, a true gent preserves the integrity of both himself and the people around him, and speaking face-to-face to resolve a matter is the only way to do so.
2. Work hard
Whether building a career or strengthening your personal relationships, shortcuts and free rides should never be seen as ways to help achieve your goals – only hard, honest work will guarantee long-term benefits and keep your name intact.
3. Never judge
If your partner needs help, or if your friend wants someone to talk to about an issue, you should never cower or judge; rather, you should lend out your hand and listen. This is particularly important today when many are encouraged to speak out about any mental health or personal problems.
4. Always RSVP
Although you may consider it an inconvenience to take a few seconds out of your day to reply to those pending invitations you’ve received, you should still try to make life easier for the person on the receiving end by getting back to them as soon as possible – it’s more than simple courtesy, it’s a sign of a good friend. Why? Because if a person wants you to join them at an event or function, the least you can do is respond promptly.
5. Understand the difference between confidence and arrogance
No one likes a bold and brash individual – especially in this era of Trump-like egoism. So, avoid waxing lyrical about any of your achievements and, when dealt a compliment, accept it with with surprise, thanks and modesty. An arrogant man, by contrast, expects praise.
6. Know how to cook
Gone are the days when you could dine and chow down on cheap takeout and it be accepted; you’re a man now, and you should learn to master some cooking skills. Start with the basics (such as cutting and dicing) and target a few specific dishes you wish to perfect (we’d suggest a steak, Italian cucina casalinga and various egg dishes), and from there you can build your repertoire and start to host dinner parties. Given that we’re now in an epoch where there are apps to help almost every area of life, finding one that is tailored to your gastronomic needs won’t be tricky – we’d suggest Kitchen Stories.
7. Tell a worldly joke at a dinner party
Speaking of dinner parties, there are few more painful silences than the one that follows a flopped dinner party joke. By contrast, the raucous mirth after a successful gag can set the tone for a successful evening – and you can be the one to kickstart it all. So, choose your timing, tailor your joke to the audience and don’t, at all costs, stutter and ruin the punch line.
8. Have clothes that fit and always be well-presented
No matter the occasion, you should always be dressed well. When in the office, that means wearing a sharp suit with a tie and a crisp, press shirt; when in the bar, then why not go for something timeless like a Sunspel polo with slim-fit chinos and some stripped-back white sneakers? Moreover, you should also make sure your clothes are casually hugging your silhouette – nothing too baggy or skin-tight. Not only does this mean familiarising yourself with brands that suit your body type, but it also requires visiting a tailor who will cut and adjust things to your needs. For trousers, the key things to look out for are the waist, taper and length; for shirts, consider the sleeve length and fit around the torso.
9. Be on time
There’s nothing ruder than showing up late, and (let’s be honest) no one cares about your excuse, so showing up on time is a must. And, as we’re all becoming further attached to our smartphones that constantly send out notifications and alarms, there’s no excuse not to be.
10. Treat service staff with respect
For the ignorant and entitled out there, remember that service staff are people. So, like you would with any fellow human, treat them with the respect they deserve and be polite when possible. After all, they’ve helped you out in one way or another. Additionally, when jetting abroad, why not learn how to say please and thank you in a few languages? Here are a few common courtesies:
French: s’il vous plaît / merci
Spanish: por favor / gracias
Italian: per favore / grazie
German: bitte / danke
11. Lose well
Donald Trump is obsessed with ego and winning “bigly”. But unlike the current US president, you’re a man of integrity. Being gracious in defeat is not a sign of weakness, rather it shows a man who’s willing to congratulate and recognise the achievements of his opponent. Healthy competition is always encouraged, but bowing out with dignity is equally as important.
12. Become a friend of a museum, concert hall or theatre
Extending your cultural tastes will bring you an enormous amount of pleasure, as well as a wealth of knowledge that will make you a more interesting companion at a restaurant or bar. For contemporary art, we recommend MoMa in New York; for a touch of musical heritage we would struggle to look beyond Copenhagen’s Royal Opera House; and for historical works, why not head to the Uffizi in Renaissance-rich Florence?
13. Write a thank you letter
Writing a thank you letter, no matter the stature of the gift or event, is a sign of courtesy long forgotten. However, despite the fact that it’s been lost in past decades, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer an elegant way of showing your gratitude – do it the day after, preferably on elegant headed correspondence cards, and don’t send a digital message as an alternative.
14. Look after your shoes
Sneaker drops come and go, but a pair of classic shoes last forever. And, as a gent, you’ll know that investing in timeless footwear is far better than purchasing fast-fashion items. Moreover, an integral part of buying sturdy boots or brogues is the regular cleaning and polishing that goes with it. After all, shoes will be worn perhaps more often than any other single item in one’s wardrobe, and will certainly take the most punishment, so look after them with a regular care routine (use shoe trees after every use and polish every fortnight) and you’ll able to don them for decades to come.
15. Pick a signature scent
The most stylish and well groomed men out there are the ones that have their own style; small touches that keep him unique. An easy way to make you stand out is by investing in a fragrance that suits your needs and will have people associating it with you for years.
16. Be more generous with your time
We understand that modern day demands take a lot of time out of your schedule; so, with this in mind, why not set aside some hours to spend on either causes that you believe in or with those close to your heart? Choose an afternoon or day every week and dedicate it to visiting a friend or family member, or volunteering for an organisation you believe will make a positive impact on society.
17. Manage your diary better
A key way to ensure that you have free time is by managing your schedule. And, if you haven’t already, consider investing in a Smythson diary or simply download the Google Calendar App in order to keep on top of your plans. This way, you’ll be able to spend less time on scrolling endlessly through your social feeds and more time on those who actually deserve your attention.
18. Declutter your home
A gentleman’s home is as clear a reflection of himself as the clothes he wears, the art he hangs and the company he keeps. When inviting friends or family over becomes a point of embarrassment, it’s time to have a rethink about your home’s interior. Start by clearing out your abode (discard anything you feel is superfluous or hasn’t been used in the past year) and reorganise areas in the sleekest way possible. After all, a clearer environment makes for clearer thinking.
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